A special meeting of the top council of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) will discuss a plan for Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to step down in June 2009, various news reports (including Malaysiakini) said on Thursday.

This speculation was further strengthened when news leaked that Abdullah and Najib were huddled in a meeting at the Prime Minister Office in Putrajaya Thursday morning, which was neither denied nor confirned by Najib when met by newsmen later in the day and was only willing to say, “I always meet the Prime Minister”.

There is also speculation that the December polls would be postponed to June 2009 to ensure a smooth transfer of power and minimise internal politicking. “We are expecting something positive to come out tomorrow at the meeting,” a party insider told Bernama.

Abdullah had previously said he would step down in 2010 in favour of his deputy Najib Razak. UMNO is the leading party in Malaysia’s ruling Barisan Nasional coalition and its supreme council is holding a special meeting on Friday, Najib told a news conference earlier in the day.